Now after he rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons. She went out and told those who had been with him, while they were mourning and weeping. But when they heard that he was alive and had been seen by her, they would not believe it. After this he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them. Later he appeared to the eleven themselves as they were sitting at the table; and he upbraided them for their lack of faith and stubbornness, because they had not believed those who saw him after he had risen. And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.
In today’s gospel there’s reference made to seven demons cast out from Mary Magdalene. Now, not many people today, even in the church, believe in demons. They believe that in olden days, demons — or evil spirits — were a way of explaining certain sicknesses and behavior patterns, especially those related to mental illness. They are correct, but not entirely, because evil spirits exist, and they trouble people today as they did in the years gone by. If you feel like you are being troubled by them, take hope because Jesus has achieved victory for us, and from experience, if we do these four things it usually helps us a lot.
Step 1 is repenting for our sins and believing in our Lord Jesus. Jesus began his ministry by inviting people to both. “The kingdom of God has come near,” he said. “Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15). When we lead sinful lives, we are in the enemy’s territory. We can’t expect to fight him on his home ground; we need to get to holy ground and the way to do this is by repenting and believing in Jesus; that he died to set us free from slavery to sin and death. And once we are in Jesus country, the enemy has limited ability to mess with us.
Step 2 is forgiving those who have hurt us. This is where we really give the enemy the reins to control us, because when we don’t forgive those who hurt us, we are essentially still acting like we belong to him. We can’t expect forgiveness from God on one hand, while withholding our own forgiveness towards others. We often find forgiving people really difficult, but this is only because we try to forgive people using our human resources. If we depend on the grace of God to do this, we will discover we can. For additional insights please read Matthew 18:21-35.
Step 3 is renouncing all occult or new age practices that we may have engaged in and throwing out any objects that might not bring honor to God. The first commandment is to honor our God and worship him only, and anything we do that puts faith in someone else or something else breaks this commandment. God takes this very seriously — that’s why it is the FIRST commandment — so we should too. Renounce any such practices vocally. You will find a list of these things you should avoid in a document titled A Christian Reflection on the New Age. Some of these things will shock you, but don’t waste your time justifying them; just renounce them and stop doing them.
Step 4 is knowing who we are and accepting the authority given to us by virtue of who we are. The apostle John writes: “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). And as children, we have certain rights, including the right to crush the enemy. “See,” our Lord says. “I have given you authority over all the power of the enemy” (Luke 10:17-19).
Do the first three steps, and the fourth will be easy! Boot the enemy out of your life and live like a champion!
And do share this reflection with your friends!